I recently wrote about the West’s unwillingness to confront reality. Our times are marked by postmodernism, a philosophical movement that appeared as a reaction to early modernity’s scientific certainties and quickly became the basis of Western culture. It considers reality as “socially constructed,” that is, we create reality ourselves and there are no objective truths, only our own interpretations, narratives, and feelings. And since all subjective “truths” are equal, we should be tolerant, inclusive and non-judgmental of everything under the sun. Post-modernism is the mark of late Western liberalism and therefore all kinds of political, social, economic and international relations fall within its huge house of mirrors. It is also the mark of passiveness, as modern liberalism is eons away from its Whig origins and no longer believes in anything worth fighting and dying for.
Just as progress is real, unidirectional and unavoidable, under the light of postmodernism liberalism is the final universal culture that overcame human nature and can mold it any way it wants. On the other hand, subjectivism, self-absorption and self-delusion are powerful weapons we give our enemies for free and the mirage extends across the board with Europeans, Americans, liberals and conservatives being similarly deceived. It is extremely grave when self-delusion (a form of madness that makes incorrect inferences about external reality) becomes the norm of conduct of entire societies.
I believe that postmodernism is no passing vogue or fashion but rather the last phase in the decadence and death of the West. As we are beginning to see, it passively accepts its future defeat brought by the arcane forces of human nature it refuses to recognize. This may be difficult to believe in these technological times, but it is totally in accord with history for human hubris to be the agent of its own destruction. It is also the way the young in the developed world —our future leaders— are taught. Decadence in the oven, so to speak.
There is, says Obama, “less war and less violence in the world today” and “America is again the most respected country on Earth” under his watch. He is reciting the liberal postmodernist Bible, Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, an anti-human nature treatise that tells us we shouldn’t believe our own lying eyes because the modern centralizing tendencies have conquered the worst of our nature, notwithstanding Hitler, Stalin and Mao, or the Jewish, Ukrainian, Armenian and Cambodian genocides, or the more than 250 million total deaths in the 20th century that in unison cry out to us that Pinker is wrong. The truth is the world progresses and regresses and, human nature being what it is, the world certainly does not get better when the hegemonic power withdraws from it. Barack Obama is the worst possible leader of his country at this time: a shallowly educated but deeply indoctrinated postmodern, a barbarian at the head of the late Roman Empire. There is also the warning of the return of geopolitics —human nature in toto— as Walter Russell Mead tells us:
The United States and the EU, at least, find such trends disturbing. Both would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance: trade liberalization, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, the rule of law, climate change, and so on. Indeed, since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U.S. and EU foreign policy has been to shift international relations away from zero-sum issues toward win-win ones.
Self-delusion is to think that Somali Muslim war refugees in Minnesota will suddenly forget their cultural and religious beliefs just because they stepped on US territory by chance or by necessity. Or that Muslims living in Europe would not hear the call of their Middle East brothers in this —as their interpretation of Islam sees it— apocalyptic moment, only because they happen to live in France or England. Or that Muslims need to be “radicalized” in order for them to fight for the Muslim Caliphate. Secular post-moderns don’t understand the power of religion, therefore any individual acceptance of jihad will be understood as part of a “distorted” view of Islam.
All the while, Muslim children in Europe play ISIS beheading games in preschool!
In this race to the societal cliff, the German Bishops are trying to force the coming Roman synod to accept their policies, that is, they want the rest of the world to follow the European Catholic Church to the tomb. As the German Father Eberhard Schockenhoff says, “moral theology must be liberated from the natural law, and conscience should be based on the life experience of the faithful.” The gift of subjectivism from Catholic Europe, when its churches are empty of parishioners, to the rest of the world. A sign of the times indeed.
The small cluster of countries that conform the West want to lead the world with platitudes and “soft power” while at the same time the illiberal powers Russia, China and Iran — plus several other rogue nations — plot to upend the global order. Obama pushes an ethereal war against climate change while the Islamic State advances and North Korea miniaturizes nuclear weapons it will eventually share with Iran and whoever else pays them well. What more proofs of living in an illusory world do we need?
During its colonialist past the West didn’t hear the call of nationalism in places like Algeria or Vietnam; pari passu, in its modern atheistic and hedonistic form it understands even less the powerful call of religious faith allied to nationalism. Therefore the stupid calls for “job opportunities” for jihadists, for countering the “radicalization” and for reinforcing the “civic duties” of the “disenfranchised youth” of Europe. As Pat Buchanan argues, unquestionably:
Historically, as the faith dies, the culture and civilization to which it gave birth die, and then the people die. And a new tribe with its own gods comes to occupy the emptying land.
As there is nothing new under the sun, the future will again be conquered by faith and belief. Nobody knows who will win but the outcome is not difficult to predict: the strongest believers, therefore also the most fertile, will be the winners. Imagine how far apart from postmodern liberal thinking this is.